Despite a bit of knee pain last week, I still decided I would race on Saturday. This may not have been the smartest thing but a) I had already paid for the race and b) my knee didn't hurt when I woke up Saturday morning.
It was COLD Saturday morning - barely 30F when I woke up at 6:30am. I ate my oatmeal and drank my coffee and hoped that the temperature would warm up by the time the race started. I dragged a sleepy Brian out of bed and out into the cold morning for the race too. He wasn't racing but being the supportive husband that he is, wanted to come along.
We arrived with just over half an hour until the race start and I picked up my packet and met up with my running buddy. The sun was just coming up but the temperature was not getting any higher as we warmed up for the race. I didn't want to do too much before the race because I was afraid my knee would start to hurt and I wouldn't be able to make it through the race. Thankfully, I only felt a slight twinge in my knee which was more than manageable for the race.
The race was about to start and I quickly changed into my racing outfit! Racing singlet, capri tights, gloves and ARM WARMERS!! I was the most mismatched person ever for this race because of my maroon singlet and orange arm warmers but I felt good! Plus everyone else was wearing long sleeved shirts and pants - I honestly felt a little under dressed. Before I knew it, and before I really had time to get cold in my little amount of clothing, we were off!
As we started, I let everyone take off around me and allowed my pace to slowly dropped into the range I wanted for the first mile. I didn't want to go out too fast, I wanted to go a bit easy for the first mile and then speed up. After about half a mile the course got a bit twisty-turny with lots of turns which made running the tangents a bit hard. I tried my best to run the shortest distance but there is only so much multi-tasking I can do during a race. Maintaining the pace was my first priority.
Mile 1 - 6:39
Going into the second mile, I started picking up the pace. I was feeling really good and only felt a slight pain in my knee, nothing that was keeping me from hitting my pace. I wasn't sure if it was just the adrenalin or if my knee was actually feeling ok. I think all the turns actually made the race go more quickly because you could never see more than a quarter mile ahead so there was never a chance to psych yourself out with how much left there was to run.
Mile 2 - 6:36
I was still feeling good going into mile 3 which I was a bit surprised at. Continuing on, I picked up the pace even more and just pushed until the end. We finally turned onto the last straight away and I could see my breath in front of me as I started to breathe heavily. Less than a half mile, less than a quarter mile, just a tenth more...I counted down the remaining mileage and soon the finish line was in sight. I dug deep and pushed as hard as I could do the finish and saw that I had a new 5k PR!
Mile 3 - 6:24
Last 0.1 - 5:47 pace
At the finish, I felt pretty happy with this race. I had run the race exactly how I had wanted and felt great the whole time. Plus a new PR by 12 seconds was nice too. A great way to close out the 2011 running year.
Official Time: 20:30
Age group: 1/58
Monday Knee Update: I woke up this morning (Monday morning) and just like Saturday, after a full day of rest, my knee feels fine. No pain, nothing. I planned to take off today already and wont run until Tuesday night which hopefully will be enough time for the pain to be completely gone. Still really have no idea why I was hurting - possibly runners knee or just IT band/butt muscle tightness. Last night I spent a lot of time sitting on a lacrosse ball (we don't have any tennis balls) and I worked out a few knots that I had which made my whole leg feel better.